Denied victory the previous year when his steering failed with less than nine laps to go, Bill Vukovich started from the pole and led 195 laps in a dominating win.

On the hottest race day in race history, with temperatures in the mid-90s and the track surface registering 130 degrees, Vukovich refused a relief driver and was nicknamed, 'The Iron Man.' The tough Californian was a man of few words, but had this to say: "You think this is hot. You ought to try driving a tractor in Fresno in July."

Driver Carl Scarborough died of heat exhaustion in the infield hospital. Earlier in the month in practice, Chet Miller was killed when he hit the south chute wall.